Twenty-three workers were killed in trench collapses in 2016, according to OSHA, compared to 11 in 2015. Trench collapses are rarely survivable, as 1 cubic yard of soil can weigh up to 3,000 pounds.

OSHA has a national emphasis program on trenching and excavations, with standards requiring protective systems to be used on trenches deeper than 5 feet, and for soil and other materials to be kept at least 2 feet from the edge of the trench.

For more information, visit, or download Associated Builders and Contractors’ Safety Performance Report at to learn how six leading indicators of world-class safety programs can reduce the occurrence of jobsite accidents and injuries.